Bubble Watch: Who's Helped and Hurt Its NCAA Tournament Case?

This week's look at the NCAA tournament bubble gives the latest on every team that still has a prayer of going dancing.
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Ky and I’s judicious use of the world “lock” proved wise this week, as teams like Butler, Marquette and West Virginia did everything they could to slide further and further down the S-curve. It was a shaky week for the bubble overall, rife with vanilla 1-1 performances that kept the status quo essentially the same as last week. Only one team changed categories (BYU elevated to lock status after taking down Gonzaga), while a few flimsy cases were ejected from this space after adding more losses (St. Louis, St. John's, Oregon State …).

Our updated numbers situation breaks down as such—bear in mind these teams are in competition for something like 46 bids (36 at-large, an auto-bid from each league):

Locks: 19
Comfortable, but not Relaxing:
10
Sweating Bullets: 35

ncaa-bubble-teams-march-madness-nc-state

ACC

Locks: Duke, Louisville, Florida State
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
None
Sweating Bullets:
Virginia, Notre Dame, NC State, Syracuse

We sadly had to remove Virginia Tech from this section, as the Hokies had an 0–2 week and dropped out of the NET top 80. A 2–0 week (home to Virginia, at Louisville) would likely get them back in consideration, but it’s an extreme long shot at this point.

Virginia (19–7, NET: 51, SOS: 87, Q1: 3–3, Q2: 6–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Tony Bennett’s squad continues to do the main thing asked of bubble teams: not lose. The Cavaliers did not lose against Boston College or at Pitt this week, and they’ve crept into semi-safety thanks to the impressive 9-6 Q1/Q2 record and “only” one bad loss. Not losing will be a tougher task this week, though, as the Hoos head to Blacksburg for rival Virginia Tech on Wednesday and host the big bad Blue Devils on Saturday. Two losses would not be devastating given the difficulty of the games, but a 2–0 week would make the reigning champs near-locks to go dancing for the seventh straight season. –JR

NC State (17–10, NET: 53, SOS: 53, Q1: 5–4, Q2: 4–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 3)

As 1–1 weeks go, beating Duke and barely losing to Florida State is about as good as it gets, and that exchange has the Wolfpack right back in the thick of things. Unfortunately, going 1–1 this week (at UNC, home to Pitt) would not be as acceptable, and NC State needs to continue piling wins to help offset the three Quadrant 3 losses that lurk on its résumé. –JR

Notre Dame (17-10, NET: 56, SOS: 124, Q1: 2–6, Q2: 1–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

The Irish torched Miami (FL) this weekend with a devastating offensive performance, continuing to stay afloat in the race for an at-large bid. But their lack of meaningful wins (none over current at-large teams, home or away) is a glaring flaw, and, without an upset of Florida State on March 4, it may be ACC tournament championship-or-bust for John Mooney and friends.

Syracuse (15-12, NET: 67, SOS: 42, Q1: 2–7, Q2: 2–4, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

The Orange stormed back to beat Georgia Tech on Saturday, avoiding a home loss to a non-tournament team at a time when that kind of thing could hamper the Orange’s already-weak CV. But the story this week was Jim Boeheim’s decision to lash out at Ken Pomeroy, a confusing and misguided attempt to attack individual defensive analytics that would have been far better-served if aimed at Synergy Sports (but still strange). I guess when you’re 15–12 and sliding toward the NIT, you need someone, anyone to blame. –JR

Big 12

Locks: Baylor, Kansas
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
West Virginia, Texas Tech
Sweating Bullets:
Oklahoma

We considered adding Oklahoma State to the picture here, but getting destroyed at Kansas erased any goodwill the Cowboys had started to earn. Not yet, Stillwater.

Texas Tech (18–9, NET: 15, SOS: 92, Q1: 3-8, Q2: 4-1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

The Red Raiders have shot up six spots in the NET rankings since last week and picked up another Q1 win to boot. Tech has benefited from its relatively easy recent Big 12 schedule, playing the bottom six teams (Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Iowa State) during that span. The Raiders are looking good for a tourney bid and still have two huge chances to score major wins at Baylor and against Kansas at home to finish the year. –KM

West Virginia (19–9, NET: 17, SOS: 2, Q1: 5-7, Q2: 5-2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

West Virginia’s résumé is still pristine despite its recent slide, but don’t think the human selection committee doesn’t factor in recent performance when seeding the bracket. The Mountaineers are nearly a lock with just three games to go in the season, but a 7-8 Big 12 record does everything but inspire confidence. If Bob Huggins’s squad loses out, it will still have the résumé to make the Big Dance, but will the committee allow a team with a 7-11 conference record to party? –KM

Oklahoma (16–11, NET: 55, SOS: 36, Q1: 3-9, Q2: 5-2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

OU has gone the opposite way of Texas Tech over the past week, going 0–2 and dropping eight spots in the NET from 47 to 55. The Sooners are hanging onto their spot in the Dance by a thread and absolutely need to finish at least 2-2 down the stretch. Two “easier” bouts versus Texas and at TCU to end the season could allow them to do just that. –KM

Big East

Locks: Creighton, Seton Hall, Villanova
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
Marquette, Butler
Sweating Bullets:
Xavier, Georgetown, Providence

A solemn goodbye to the Johnnies, who, like DePaul, had a strong enough non-conference performance to warrant consideration for a while. Unfortunately, whatever the opposite of “cream rises to the top” happened in Big East play (the cinder blocks sank to the bottom?), and the Red Storm joined the Blue Demons in the colorful world of Big East disappointment.

Butler (19–9, NET: 23, SOS: 41, Q1: 8–7, Q2: 5–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

Like Marquette, Butler refused to cover up the small Moon Door lurking in the middle of the living room, as the Bulldogs barely fell at Seton Hall and then got mercilessly slaughtered by the Creighton buzzsaw on Sunday. To top it all off, Kamar Baldwin got hurt against the Bluejays and did not return. The doomsday scenario would be 19–13 (7–11) with an early loss in the Big East tournament; that’s still probably good enough to avoid tumbling through that Moon Door, but we will still make the Bulldogs earn entrance into the lock kingdom. –JR

Marquette (17–9, NET: 26, SOS: 7, Q1: 5–8, Q2: 6–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

We did not lock the Golden Eagles last week for fear of a disaster scenario, and Marquette did nothing to ease our concerns this week, losing to Creighton at home and at Providence over the weekend. Neither of those losses is harmful on its own, but if the Golden Eagles stack four more on top of them to close the year, things could get hairy in Milwaukee. Beat Georgetown and/or Seton Hall and end this madness. –JR

Xavier (17–10, NET: 43, SOS: 11, Q1: 3–9, Q2: 6–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

The Musketeers ran in place with a 1–1 week, and they continue to be in O.K. (but not great) shape thanks to the huge win at Seton Hall and only one loss outside of Q1. Xavier looks like the perfect example of a team that beats who it’s supposed to and loses to everyone else, save for that morning tip against the Pirates. Holding serve at home over the final two weeks would likely be enough. –JR

Providence (16–12, NET: 48, SOS: 13, Q1: 7–8, Q2: 3–0, Q3+Q4 Losses: 4)

Here. Come. The. Friars. Providence has nearly completed its Sisyphean task of pushing its boulder of a nonconference performance to the top of At-Large Mountain; the Friars found themselves in the field in both Ky and my’s latest bracket update. Winning two of their final three would certainly help avoid having the boulder tumble back down the mountainside, and fortunately for the Friars, they get a full week off before continuing their mythical task. –JR

Georgetown (15–12, NET: 58, SOS: 18, Q1: 4–10, Q2: 5–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

A two-loss week for Georgetown caused us to turn our backs on the Hoyas just as fast as we warmed up to them a week ago, as the sheer volume of losses is starting to outweigh the solid group of wins (and those wins are deteriorating quickly themselves). The Big East affords the Hoyas the chances to bounce back emphatically, but the remaining four contests—at Marquette, vs. Xavier, at Creighton, vs. Villanova—have the potential for 0–4, as well. –JR

ncaa-bubble-teams-march-madness-purdue-rutgers

Big Ten

Locks: Maryland, Penn State
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa
Sweating Bullets:
Rutgers, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana

Michigan State (18-9, NET: 13, SOS: 56, Q1: 5–8, Q2: 5–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

We’re maintaining our conservatism in the Big Ten bubble watch by keeping the Spartans away from lock status for now. If Michigan State drops its final four contests and ends the year 18-13 (10-10), the committee would at least have to consider leaving them out of the field of 68. One more win will seal Sparty’s fate as a tourney team, and once there they’ll be one of the most dangerous 3-5 seeds in the bracket. –KM

Ohio State (18–9, NET: 19, SOS: 40, Q1: 5–8, Q2: 5–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

Ohio State’s situation is similar to Michigan State’s, except the Buckeyes are two games back of the Fighting Izzos in the Big Ten. As is the case with many teams in this league, an under-.500 record will show as a black mark on their tournament résumé. At least OSU has Nebraska as its next opponent on Thursday. –KM

Michigan (18–9, NET: 22, SOS: 65, Q1: 7–8, Q2: 4–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

Michigan has shot up the S-curve this past week with the addition of two more Q1 wins after beating Rutgers and Purdue on the road (both near-impossible places to win). The return of Isaiah Livers has helped the Wolverines regain their early season swagger, and now they sit comfortably in the 4-6 seed range in most brackets. –KM

Iowa (19–8, NET: 27, SOS: 90, Q1: 7–6, Q2: 5–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Iowa’s résumé is nearly identical to Michigan’s, save for one more bad loss and a slightly lower NET. In the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes still have a realistic shot at a share of the title, a feat uncommon in program history. Unfortunately for Fran McCaffery and the boys, Iowa’s remaining four-game stretch is brutal: 1) at Michigan State, 2) vs. Penn State, 3) vs. Purdue, and 4) at Illinois. Like Sparty above, Iowa needs one more win to feel totally safe. –KM

Wisconsin (17–10, NET: 30, SOS: 28, Q1: 7–8, Q2: 3–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

The Badgers took care of business this past week, going 2-0 and moving into a five-way tie for second in the Big Ten at 10-6. Seven quality wins have Wisconsin riding high, but a 17-10 record still holds enough concern to leave it out of lock status for now. With home games against Minnesota and Northwestern left on the schedule, the Badgers have a clear path to 12–8 or better in the conference when the dust settles. –KM

Rutgers (17–10, NET: 34, SOS: 51, Q1: 3–8, Q2: 4–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Don’t you dare, Rutgers. Don’t you dare break our hearts and miss out on this tournament. Since sitting 16–5 (7–3) on Jan. 28, the Scarlet Knights have dropped five of their last seven contests and now sit as a No. 10 seed in our latest Bracket Watch. Three more games separate Rutgers from the Big Ten tournament, and two of them are on the road, where the Knights are just 1–7 this season. –KM

Illinois (17–9, NET: 35, SOS: 72, Q1: 5–7, Q2: 3–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

The Illini corrected their recent four-game skid with a road win at Penn State last Tuesday and an easy home win against Nebraska on Monday night. A solid record, NET ranking and should-win game at Northwestern on Thursday should be enough to send the Illini dancing for the first time since 2013. –KM

Purdue (14–14, NET: 36, SOS: 54, Q1: 4–11, Q2: 3–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

The Boilers are in do-or-die status right now with a .500 record sure to leave them on the wrong side of the bubble. Four straight losses have dropped Purdue all the way down to 12th in the Big Ten, comfortably ahead of conference bottom-feeders Nebraska and Northwestern. The term “must-win” gets thrown around a lot in college basketball, but Purdue’s two remaining home games are must-wins—and its road trip to Iowa on March 3 may be as well. –KM

Minnesota (13–13, NET: 42, SOS: 47, Q1: 5–9, Q2: 2–4, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

The Gophers are in the same spot as the Boilermakers; they’re clearly one of the better teams in the country and have proved so with a solid number of wins against top-notch competition. However, an ugly 13-13 record has Minnesota on the outside looking in and in desperate need of pulling an upset at home against the Terps on Wednesday. –KM

Indiana (18–9, NET: 52, SOS: 44, Q1: 6–7, Q2: 2–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

To our surprise, the Hoosiers are currently comfortably in the field of 68 up around the 9-seed line. IU scored a couple of Q1 victories this past week at Minnesota and against Penn State to even its Big Ten record at 8 and pull two steps closer to its first tournament appearance since 2016. Indiana’s remaining four-game stretch is no picnic, but even a 1–3 finish over the next two weeks should have the Hoosiers in the field on Selection Sunday. –KM

Pac-12

Locks: Colorado, Oregon
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
Arizona
Sweating Bullets:
Stanford, USC, Arizona St., UCLA

Arizona (19–8, NET: 7, SOS: 5, Q1: 3–6, Q2: 5–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Arizona’s résumé is one of the strangest I’ve seen this year. Somehow the Wildcats are seventh in the NET despite having eight losses, including one bad loss, and just three Q1 wins. Sean Miller must’ve done some heavy reading this offseason on how to game the NET system, because his squad currently ranks ahead of approximately 14 other teams that sit on higher seed lines, according to bracketologists. –KM

Stanford (18–9, NET: 31, SOS: 96, Q1: 2–5, Q2: 4–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Stanford has been in and out of our three most recent bracket iterations despite its strong NET and computer rankings. Seven losses in eight games appeared to spell the end for the Cardinal’s tourney hopes, but two wins over the Washington schools have Stanford back to .500 in the Pac-12 and living to fight another day. Utah comes to Palo Alto on Wednesday in what will be a must-win game for the Cardinal. Dates against Colorado and a road trip to the Oregon schools to end the year will make Stanford’s road to the dance mighty rocky. –KM

Arizona State (19–8, NET: 41, SOS: 14, Q1: 5–6, Q2: 4–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

ASU’s meteoric rise to the top of the Pac-12 standings is nothing short of miraculous. The Sun Devils have rattled off seven straight wins to put them in near-lock status to earn a bid to the Big Dance. Just in the past week, ASU has improved its NET ranking by nine spots and now has UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State to close out league play. –KM

USC (19–9, NET: 47, SOS: 60, Q1: 2–7, Q2: 6–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

USC went 0–2 this past week but somehow raised its NET ranking by two spots from 49 to 47. I guess that’s what happens when you take the dreaded mountain road trip at Colorado and Utah. The Trojans have to face both Arizona schools and a white-hot UCLA squad to finish out the season. A once-thought-safe tourney team now must sweat out the last two weeks along with its other bubble peers. –KM

UCLA (16–11, NET: 76, SOS: 74, Q1: 5-5, Q2: 2–4, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

UCLA’s unexpected bid for an at-large selection is still a long-shot with a NET of 76, higher than any at-large team in the short NET history and previous RPI. But, we have to show the Bruins some love for their recent 9–2 stretch, which has them now sitting tied for second in the Pac-12 standings. Everything needs to break right for the Bruins to get an invite to the Dance, but they have three quality-win opportunities left on their schedule before conference tourney play begins. –KM

SEC

Locks: Kentucky, Auburn, LSU
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
None
Sweating Bullets:
Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Tennessee, South Carolina

We’re hoping LSU does not burn us for designating them as a lock, and the Tigers took a huge step toward that by winning at South Carolina this weekend. The absolute worst-case scenario is now 19–13 (10–8 in the SEC) with an early exit in the SEC tournament, but that should prove to be enough—if it comes down to it. –JR

Florida (17–10, NET: 33, SOS: 35, Q1: 4–7, Q2: 4–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

A 1–1 week of treading water was nearly something much greater, as the Gators played with Kentucky for 40 minutes at Rupp Arena. Alas, it’s just another Q1 loss, and Florida continues to have the look of an 8/9-seed that everyone gets excited about because of the talent level but loses to a better-coached team in the first round. –JR

Alabama (15–12, NET: 40, SOS: 23, Q1: 2–6, Q2: 4–4, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

As the loud-mouthed conductor of the “Alabama Is Awesome” Express, I took it quite hard when the Tide shockingly dropped a home game to Texas A&M last Wednesday. They badly needs wins against anyone, and while the Tide did get one on the road at Mississippi over the weekend, a couple more 1–1 weeks won’t be enough down the stretch, especially with no needle-moving games left. Think of it like a team trying to come back late in a game: You can’t trade baskets. Alabama needs stops and scores. –JR

Arkansas (17-10, NET: 45, SOS: 26, Q1: 2–6, Q2: 2–4, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

If I’m Eric Musselman, I have an intern express-mailing Isaiah Joe’s medical updates on a daily basis until Selection Sunday (I assume the committee prefers hard-copy evidence). With the deadly perimeter sniper on the court, the Razorbacks are 16-5 with wins at Indiana and Alabama; without him, they are 1–5. The lack of bad losses helps, but it’s offset by a lukewarm-at-best 4–10 record against the top-two quadrants. The Hogs’ best bet is to keep winning and take that tenuous injury evaluation out of the committee’s hands. –JR

Mississippi State (17–10, NET: 57, SOS: 49, Q1: 2–6, Q2: 4–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

This résumé is far less intimidating than the frontcourt of the team that sports it, as the Bulldogs continue to be a bubble team in the truest sense of the word. Under .500 record against “good” (Q1/Q2) teams? Check. Bad losses? Check. Not exactly blowing the committee away down the stretch? Check. Dropping one at Texas A&M is the kind of game that, while not damaging as a Q2 one, continues to hurt the Bulldogs’ overall profile from a record perspective. With no Kentucky, Auburn or LSU games left, the Bulldogs are on razor-thin ice. –JR

South Carolina (16–11, NET: 63, SOS: 63, Q1: 4–7, Q2: 3–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

The Gamecocks’ 0–2 week keeps them comfortably outside the field, and their opportunities are dwindling. At Alabama is barely a Q1 game (and would likely drop out of that range if South Carolina won), and without any more swings at Kentucky or Auburn, South Carolina will need to win now and add some work in Nashville in two weeks to have a real chance. –JR

Tennessee (15–12, NET: 64, SOS: 32, Q1: 1–9, Q2: 5–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Another SEC bubble team, another meandering 1–1 week. The Vols got the necessary win over Vanderbilt last Tuesday, but they let a 17-point second-half lead slip away at Auburn on Saturday in what could prove to be the death knell in their barely realistic at-large hopes. Their remaining schedule has the opportunities (home to Florida and Auburn, at Arkansas and Kentucky) to claw back into the picture, but the Vols can’t afford many more losses. –JR

Wichita State basketball NCAA tournament bubble 2020

American

Locks: None
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
Houston
Sweating Bullets:
Wichita State, Cincinnati, Memphis

Houston (21–7, NET: 24, SOS: 82, Q1: 2–4, Q2: 6–3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

The AAC is weird; I’m not sure any team actually wants to make the tournament. On Feb. 12, Houston was 20-5 (10-2) and looking like a surefire No. 6 or 7 seed in the Dance. Now, the Cougars are 21–7 (11–4) with two recent losses at SMU and at Memphis. Kelvin Sampson’s squad will likely be a tourney team when all is said and done, but it's sure making it interesting. –KM

Wichita State (20-7, NET: 44, SOS: 86, Q1: 2-4, Q2: 6-3, Q3+Q4 Losses: 0)

Speaking of making things interesting, the Wichita State Shockers have been one of the most frustrating teams to root for this season, as their actual ability far outweighs their résumé to this point. With others on the bubble falling around them, the Shockers rose in our Monday Bracket Watch from last Friday, but like Houston, Wichita is anything but safe. March battles at Memphis and SMU will be two of the biggest games of the season for Gregg Marshall and his deep squad; lose both and the Shockers’ tourney picture will become mighty murky. –KM

Cincinnati (18–9, NET: 54, SOS:12, Q1: 2–5, Q2: 6–0, Q3+Q4 Losses: 4)

Wash, rinse, repeat. Another good, underachieving AAC team. Cincinnati picked up a giant win against Wichita State on Sunday but also picked up its fourth bad loss of the season against UCF last Wednesday. To survive that many bad losses on your résumé, you have to have a large cache of quality wins, which the Bearcats do not. A March 1 battle at Houston will be Cincy’s greatest chance to punch its ticket to the Dance before “lighter” matchups against South Florida and Temple to close out the year. –KM

Memphis (19–8, NET: 61, SOS: 84, Q1: 2–4, Q2: 5–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 3)

Penny Hardaway extended his team’s tourney hopes on Saturday with a win against Houston to pick up its second Q1 win. The Tigers are on thin ice with a weak NET and SOS, a low number of quality wins and three bad losses. However, Memphis has three more chances to bolster its résumé before the AAC tournament with road tilts at SMU and Houston and a home match against Wichita State. –KM

Others

Locks: San Diego State, Gonzaga, Dayton, BYU
Comfortable, but Not Relaxing:
None
Sweating Bullets:
Rhode Island, Saint Mary’s, Northern Iowa, ETSU, Richmond, Utah State, VCU, Liberty, UNC Greensboro

We’re locking up BYU after the Cougars’ huge Saturday-night win over Gonzaga. At this point, BYU is 14th in the NET and has only one remaining regular-season game (at Pepperdine). Losing that one (a Q2 game right now) and taking a horrible loss in the WCC tournament would not be enough to drop Mark Pope’s surgically devastating offensive squad out of the field. First bid since 2015! –JR

Saint Mary’s (22–6, NET: 32, SOS: 81, Q1: 3–2, Q2: 4–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

The Gaels seemed somewhat sluggish after their most recent shellacking at the hands of Gonzaga—until an explosion against San Diego in the second half this weekend. Saint Mary’s tagged the Toreros with a 54–29 spanking, and Randy Bennett has his squad gearing up for the road rematch at Gonzaga coming this weekend. Win that (and the Thursday appetizer at Santa Clara), and the Gaels could make all of this academic by our next update. –JR

Rhode Island (19–7, NET: 37, SOS: 57, Q1: 1–4, Q2: 5–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

After an abysmal game to that point (1 for 14 from the field), Fatts Russell tried to rescue the Rams against Davidson, hitting a triple with five seconds left to send it to overtime. Unfortunately, URI did not use that second life to its fullest, falling to the squad we affectionately refer to as “Dave” by two in OT, and the Rams’ positioning remains quite precarious. As long as Dayton remains on the schedule (March 4 in Kingston), though, the Rams have plenty of hope to firm up their résumé. –JR

Utah State (20–7, NET: 38, SOS: 102, Q1: 2–4, Q2: 2–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

What’s the difference between Utah State’s résumé and Rhode Island’s just above it? Well, it comes down to quality wins. URI has just enough more than USU to put it ahead of the Aggies on the S-curve, but if Craig Smith can keep his team sprinting up the NET rankings, it could surpass the Rams in short order. Like a few other teams in this section, Utah State has no more chances at a really good win outside of the Mountain West tournament. So, hopefully the Aggies can close out the year with a strong 22 wins against D-I competition and make a run in the conference tourney. –KM

East Tennessee State (22–4, NET: 39, SOS: 151, Q1: 2–1, Q2: 1–1, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

One slight advantage the Bucs have over other mid-major at-large contenders is the strength of their league: If UNC-Greensboro plays well down the stretch, the Spartans (currently 62nd in the NET) could sneak into the top 50 by beating ETSU in the SoCon final, making that a Q1 loss for the Buccaneers. No harm done, aside from lowering the Q1 winning percentage; other teams like Liberty or even UNI could take a bad loss in the tournament final. This remains a solid if not spectacular résumé that will hope to benefit from a committee desire to include a true mid-major at-large team. –JR

Northern Iowa (21–5, NET: 46, SOS: 98, Q1: 1–1, Q2: 4–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

Like Saint Mary's above, UNI used a vicious second half to take care of business over the weekend, only the Panthers did it in their own way: a 31-4 run that spanned 14 minutes, a suffocating defensive performance that helped UNI avoid a disastrous three-game losing streak. That’s vintage Ben Jacobson stuff, even for a UNI team that has tilted far more toward the offensive end this year. UNI needs to avoid bad losses this week, and then we’ll reassess its situation ahead of Arch Madness in seven days. –JR

Richmond (20–7, NET: 49, SOS: 78, Q1: 2–4, Q2: 2–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

Richmond’s résumé is suffering from a lack of high-quality wins, and unfortunately the Spiders don’t really have any other opportunities to pick one up save for a road match against Duquesne to finish the year. But, if Richmond ends the season 24–7 or 23–8 and picks up a win or two in the A-10 tournament, the committee is going to have a hard time keeping it out of the Big Dance, especially when the eye test says it belongs. –KM

Liberty (24–3, NET: 50, SOS: 298, Q1: 0–1, Q2: 1–0, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

Would it surprise me if the committee put Liberty in the field as an at-large if it swept the remainder of the regular season and lost in the A-Sun tournament? No. Will they? I honestly don’t think they should. Record is one thing, but if you play 20-plus games against Q4 competition, you don’t have a strong case to make the NCAA tournament. The Flames are a very good team, one that can absolutely hang with top-flight competition. Unfortunately, there’s not enough meat on their résumé to justify a jump over some other bubble teams. –KM

VCU (17–10, NET: 59, SOS: 46, Q1: 1–7, Q2: 1–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 1)

VCU is all but done at this point, missing out on two more Q1 wins with a close loss to Dayton and a beatdown at the hands of Saint Louis. The Rams had ample opportunities to pick up Q1 victories during the year, but injuries and an anemic offense held them back. Mike Rhoades’s group is talented enough to make a run in the A-10 tournament and pick up the auto-bid, but an at-large is pretty much out of the question. –KM

UNC Greensboro (21–6, NET: 62, SOS: 146, Q1: 1–2, Q2: 2–2, Q3+Q4 Losses: 2)

UNCG lost one of its Q1 wins from last week, which in turn depleted its NET despite not losing a game since our last update. The Spartans have a case for an at-large, but that NET ranking needs to improve, and they absolutely must beat Furman and Chattanooga to close out the season. –KM